Background: Machining and metal coating of plastics are essential requirements as plastics
are overtaking other engineering materials nowadays. Metallization improves product life as well as
enhances its surface and mechanical properties. The machining (i.e., cutting, drilling, boring) of plastic
parts with conventional processes is difficult as the dimensional accuracy and surface finish cannot be
obtained from existing methods or/and needs multiple operations to acquire the surface finish needed.
The coating of plastic materials is also a complex method using chemicals and electricity. An
innovative method of coating and machining on plastic components has been demonstrated, which
would be beneficial for potential researchers. A detailed analysis of previous patents and techniques has
been performed based on which an advanced apparatus has been proposed.
Objective: The objective of this study was to develop an apparatus based on non-conventional
machining techniques. Moreover, the apparatus would be capable of plating metal layer on polymers
using chemicals and fine metal particles. An in-depth analysis of previous patents used for the same
application has been performed and based on the limitations of already existing techniques.
Methods: An apparatus for machining and metal coating of polymers utilizes compressed air at high
pressure mixed with chemical vapors. Before compression, the air is filtered to remove the impurities
and moisture. Afterwards, heated chemical vapors are mixed with air in a specific proportion for
machining of plastic parts. A jet of air and chemical vapours impinges on work material, which would
perform machining in two steps. Initially, the chemical vapours would dissolve plastic material, which
would instantly melt and starts flowing. Afterwards, the air jet would remove the excess plastic material
due to high pressure. On the other hand, metallization can also be performed using different chemicals
in proper proportion.
Results: The apparatus makes it easy for machining and metalizing the ABS or plastic parts as the
process is performed on one apparatus simultaneously one after the other. The high speed jet of acetone
vapors has a greater tendency to perform various machining operations like cutting, drilling, boring of
ABS parts. These vapours, when mixed with pressurized air, enhance the capability of machining the
workpieces. And the metallization of plastic parts provides luster and surface finish to the workpiece.
Conclusion: The present invention is to provide an apparatus for effectively plating or coating the machined
workpieces. Moreover, the present work provides detailing of an apparatus for improving the
mechanical strength, hardness and surface finish of the machined workpiece. In addition to this, the
proposed apparatus is enabled to make strong bonding between metal particles and plastics.